Roll out the red carpets, let the trumpets blow! Next weekend will mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and the first time in history that a British monarch has served 70 years on the throne. Whether you’re a die-hard royalist, or just looking to enjoy this incredible four-day long weekend, HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday merriments are sure to be quite the celebration. With more than 70,000 Jubilee lunches taking place all over the country, uniting 10 million friends and neighbours in the festive fun, all eyes will be on our nation - one billion people worldwide are expected to tune in and watch the events as they gloriously unfold. Oh Britannia!
The events kick off at 11am on Thursday 2nd June with the Queen’s Birthday Parade in London, otherwise known as ‘Trooping the Colour’. This traditional parade of military pageantry will see over 1400 soldiers and 200 horses from the Household Division marching down The Mall in ceremonial uniform. Whilst the Queen herself is not expected to take part this year, several members of the royal family will join in the parade on horseback. A six-minute fly-past will conclude this majestic performance, when more than 70 aircraft from the Royal Navy, the Army and Royal Air Force, will fly over Buckingham Palace where the Queen is expected to be watching (and waving) from her balcony. At 9pm a special ceremony will commence to light the principle beacon, a 21m ‘tree’ made up of 350 smaller trees, with other Platinum beacons being lit all around the country. There will be pomp. There will be ceremony. And lots and lots of it.
Just a short walk from Buckingham Palace, is one of London’s oldest family-owned hotels, Flemings Mayfair. Dating back to 1851, Fleming’s is not only one of the city’s oldest hotels, but also one of its best kept secrets. Having undergone a multi-million-pound refurbishment, restoring much of its 18th century glory, expect nothing but opulence and grandeur at this truly British institution. With many elegant rooms and suites to choose from, including one aptly named Jubilee, this glamorous residence is certainly fit for a queen, or king, or any other member of the monarchy. Indulge in elevated dining at their highly-acclaimed Ormer restaurant and then slip through the hidden entrance into the infamous Manetta bar, a popular haunt amongst foreign spies during the 1930’s, as well as the literati, including Agatha Christie, who drew inspiration from this clandestine destination. Shhhh… we won’t tell if you don’t.
A Service of Thanksgiving will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 3rd June, giving thanks for the queen’s reign. Whilst this will be a private event, St Paul’s has announced a new exhibition to mark this historic occasion: Jubilee: St Paul’s, the Monarch and the Changing World, exploring the history of Jubilee celebrations over three centuries. With such momentous celebrations taking place, our capital will be abuzz with thousands upon thousands of anglophiles, waving the flag. If you’re looking to be in the heart of the action, London is certainly the place to be.
For anyone hoping to spot the royals around St Paul’s, NYX Hotel London Holborn boasts a tasteful address nearby. There are 213 luxurious rooms and suites to choose from, all with a laid back Midtown style. Glasshouse on The Roof is the hotel’s exclusive rooftop bar, enjoying panoramic views across central London and over the Jubilee beacons. Located 10 floors up, you can revel in the festivities without having to deal with any of the crowds, as you sip on deliciously creative cocktails from the menu. And with an afternoon TeaQuila package on offer, you can expect to leave royally merry too. But if that’s too much excitement, take a load off and head to their Rena Spa, equipped with a 13m Greco-Roman pool, steam room and sauna, and let the stresses of the outside world melt away as you indulge in dream-worthy spa treatments.
Epsom Downs will be abuzz on Saturday 4th June, as the Queen is expected to attend the Cazoo Derby, along with other members of the royal family. This year’s derby is not only celebrating the 243rd running of the world’s greatest Flat race, but also an official commemoration of the Platinum Jubilee. As this event is open to the public, it’s fair to expect a right royal knees up. Also on this day, Platinum Party at the Palace, promises an incredible open-air concert, hosted by Kirsty Young and Roman Kemp, in front of Buckingham Palace. With an impressive line-up of some of the greatest talents from the world of music and dance, stars such as members from Queen, Andrea Bocelli, Diana Ross, Alicia Keys and composer, Hans Zimmer, will all take to the stage for a night to remember. This event will be broadcast live on BBC One and across the BBC network. So even if you’re not there in person, put the kettle on and settle in front of the tele for TV history.
If you’re feeling a little bit rock n’ roll yourself, check into Notting Hill’s Portobello Hotel for a royal romp of your own. Whilst this charming boutique hotel may appear straight-laced and traditional, the colourful antics of its past guests tell a very different story. Kate Moss and Johnny Depp famously filled the bath in room 16, with Champagne, whilst Alice Cooper kept his snakes in it. As for Tim Burton – he actually flooded the room when he leapt from the bed into the bath and then back again… well, rumour has it anyway. Not sure whether it’s the bohemian spirit, the Felliniesque cocktail bar or the decadent décor of room 16 (Robbie Williams even tried to buy the famed circular bed there), but this legendary bolt-hole certainly brings out your wild side. No photos please, we’re keeping a low profile.
Meanwhile up North, Manchester is also hosting its very own array of events and celebrations. Piccadilly Gardens is set to transform into a hub of music, dance, and culinary extravaganza, whilst The Manchester Flower Show will adorn the entire city with gorgeous floral decorations and installations in all the royal colours. On Saturday 4th, Sackville Gardens will become the venue for the Fit for a Queen Jubilee Celebrations, where acts from the 90’s and 00’s, including Atomic Kitten and the Vengaboys, will be performing live - dancing Queens are sure to love this. But for a more tongue-in-cheek nod to the royals, pop along to the Jubilee street party at The Refuge, where a line-up of DJ’s and bands are taking the celebrations to a whole new level. Enjoy a complimentary ‘The Crown Jewel’ cocktail upon arrival, made with Earl Grey tea, Beefeater gin, lavender and lemon, topped up with bubbles. Bottoms up! Meanwhile in Altrincham, there will be a ‘Trooping the corgis’ town-wide event. Expect to see fifty life-sized corgi sculptures on display around local shops and businesses. We wonder if her majesty’s own pooches will approve.
Photo © David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0)
If you want to pull out all the stops, check into Manchester’s very own Hotel Gotham; not to be confused with Batman, although subtle references to the caped crusader can be found throughout the hotel. The exquisitely decorated rooms, kitted out with dark wood and luxurious leather, do have an intensely dark and opulent feel to them – we like the sound of the Inner Sanctum Suite, there are five of them and each named after an iconic Mancunian. Expect zigzag carpets, black leather bedheads and faux fur covers that would entice even the most discerning Cat Woman. Occupying one of the grandest listed buildings in the city, this former bank offers more than a gentle nod to its financial history – think pinstripes, gold bars and bowler hats, all contributing to a very swanky stay indeed. The rooftop terrace will grant you views over all the festivities, but for those seeking a more highbrow soirée, enter the two vault-like doors into Club Brass – the members (and guests) only Prohibition-style speakeasy - for some high rolling action. Well known as 'The King of King Street' and with an array of signature cocktails, they better start mixing up tipples fit for a queen, or someone's head might get the chop!
A Jubilee weekend wouldn’t be complete without a trip down to Brighton, one of Britain’s liveliest cities, alongside her arguably posher neighbour, Hove, actually. An incredible melting pot of cultures and individuals, attracting a bohemian, artistic and often eccentric crowd, this famous seaside town is set against a backdrop of stunning Regency architecture, and home to the exotic Royal Pavilion and iconic Brighton Pier. Often referred to as ‘London by sea’ it goes without saying that this unique city will be hosting its own share of royal shenanigans, an explosion of sights and sounds with carnivals, a craft festival and hoity-toity afternoon teas for all to enjoy. Meander through The Lanes, an intricate labyrinth in the city’s historic quarter, brimming with independent boutiques, renowned jewellers and Quadrophenia Alley. This ‘Green’ City is proudly sustainable too so vintage and secondhand stores abound – head to The Dressing Room for the poshest preloved frocks around. Also known for its dedication to health and wellness, Brighton is a mecca for virtuous yogis and vegan-friendly restaurants, offering a plethora of yummy fare any foodie would enjoy. We love Supernatural on East St – this new vegan hotspot and superfood café is the perfect spot to pick up your Iced Hazelnut-Matcha Affogato - your new favourite drink you didn’t even know you needed, until now. Regardless the weather, don your favourite Union Jack shorts, bikini or mankini (seriously, anything goes) and get ready for some chilly dipping. There will also be a special celebration taking place at Hove Beacon, with music and special guests. Dress code – Regal, with a side order of eccentricity. Unofficially referred to as the LGBTQIA+ capital of Britain, and home to the unparalleled Brighton Pride, this glittering and inclusive South Coast destination knows how to host a great party.
If the thought of large crowds and ardent tourists has you running for the hills, why not do precisely that and head to the gorgeous Cotswolds. An area of outstanding natural beauty, and home to the quintessential chocolate-box village of Cowley, it’s the perfect setting to enjoy a more low-key Jubilee weekend.
Cowley Manor itself will be the setting for Cowley Village’s Platinum Jubilee Village Fete, which will be taking over the 55 acres of stunning grounds of this stately property. Your pampered pooches can vie for the title of ‘top of the pups’ in this fun-filled contest, whilst you sample a delicious array of the most decidedly British nibbles and tipples to help keep the hunger pangs at bay! Located near the Regency spa town of Cheltenham, this is the best spot to explore the stunning Cotswolds, and where better than Cowley Manor to set up base camp. With 30 rooms humorously listed from ‘Good’ to ‘Best’, this chic and quirky hotel successfully manages to fuse the traditional with the effortlessly cool. There will also be a chance to make your very own crown – you don’t want them forgetting who’s queen around here.
Sunday 5th June marks the last day of celebrations, and the end of our epic Bank Holiday weekend. Back in London, the Platinum Jubilee Pageant will take over The Mall with a procession of literally thousands of performers. There will be a giant dragon puppet, acrobats, unicorns (see – we knew they were real!), circus acts, and of course, many beloved corgis. The grand finale of this dazzling parade is expected to conclude with 150 “national treasures” including Ed Sheeran, who will sing the national anthem. God save the Queen (whoever ‘Queen’, may be to you) but even if you’re not particularly fussed about the Monarchy, one thing we can probably all agree on is that as a nation we really deserve to let our hair down. Wishing you all a resplendent Bank Holiday weekend!
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